St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus | photo, Dilip Vishwanat

Advisory Panels

The Missouri Arts Council provides more than $4 million every year for arts programs in 150 communities throughout Missouri. The Advisory Panels are a critical part of our funding process. The panelists, who are volunteers from throughout the state, review and evaluate all grant applications.

We rely on people who reflect a broad range of artistic and cultural viewpoints to bring a spectrum of knowledge and experience to the application review process. Each panel is chaired by a member of the Missouri Arts Council board.

Panelists also advise the Missouri Arts Council board and staff about policy and program development.

Our panel system is designed to ensure that public funds for the arts are distributed fairly through a transparent process. All panel meetings are open to the public.

For more information, contact Michael Donovan, executive director, at 314-340-4740 or michael.donovan@ded.mo.gov.

Panelists’ Responsibilities

  • Evaluate applications. Each panelist reviews and scores 13-30 applications (20 on average). The total time involved ranges from about 20 to about 40 hours (25 on average), depending on the number of applications you are reviewing and how much time you spend with each application. Each application usually takes 45-60 minutes to review.
  • Participate in the panelist training and panel meeting. This takes place either in person or via conference call in March. The panel meeting, which takes place in May, lasts between one and three hours.
  • Commit to at least one year of service.
  • Optional but encouraged: Attend programs that we fund. Site visits are not required. However, panelists are encouraged to attend programs that we fund within your panel category. Our staff can often provide you with complimentary tickets to such funded programs.

Process for Nominating Panelists

Nominations for panels for FY2020 must be received by Friday, September 14, 2018. Late nominations will be considered for FY2021. We keep nominations on file for at least two years.

Our staff sends panel recommendations for the one-year term appointments to the Missouri Arts Council board for approval.  Due to limited openings and the need to maintain a balanced representation, we are not able to appoint every qualified nominee.

To submit a nomination, please complete the nomination form and attach the nominee’s resumé. You may nominate yourself or another person.

Criteria for Selection of Panelists

We use these criteria to select panelists and create panels:

  • Personal integrity, objectivity, and ability to work as part of a group
  • Expertise in a particular art form
  • Knowledge and experience in arts or nonprofit management
  • Familiarity with arts groups in Missouri
  • Access to technology to review applications and support materials online
  • Minimal conflicts of interest as a member of the board or staff of organizations that are potential applicants for grants
  • Residence in Missouri (except for Established Institution, Mid-Sized Arts, and Folk Arts panels)
  • Balanced representation:
    • Background, expertise, and aesthetic perspectives
    • Geographic regions of Missouri
    • Minority groups (for example, ethnicity, persons with disabilities)
    • Type of arts organization (for example, community, emerging, mid-sized, and large)

The composition of each panel varies according to grant program, and may include these types of people:

  • Arts professionals (for example, artist, artistic director, manager, administrative staff)
  • Educators (for example, K-12, higher education, and specialized)
  • Professionals and board members from non-arts nonprofit organizations
  • Community members active in a non-arts field (for example, accountant, attorney, board members, civic leader, humanities scholar)

For each panel, we select one person to serve as Panel Alternate. If a chosen panelist has to withdraw from the panel due to an unavoidable schedule conflict or last-minute emergency, we will ask the Panel Alternate to serve. We request that Alternates hold open the dates for the orientation and panel meetings in case their service is needed.

Panels’ Schedule During 2018/19 for FY2020 Grant Applications

September 14, 2018
Nominations for panelists due.

October 2018
Panels approved and panelists notified.

March 2019
New panelist training

April 2019
Panelists evaluate the application materials online based on how they relate to the review criteria. They submit their written assessment and numeric scores to Missouri Arts Council staff a week before the panel meeting. Then, for each evaluated organization, Missouri Arts Council staff average the individual scores given by each panelist, and compile a written assessment for panelists to review before the panel meeting.

May 2019
The panels meet by conference call with the panel chair, Missouri Arts Council staff, and St. Louis-area panelists. (Panelists outside the St. Louis area may attend the meeting in person, but at their own expense.) During the meeting, panelists discuss applicants’ average scores, with the opportunity to change them. (Panelists do not make monetary funding recommendations; the grant awards are determined after the panel meeting by a funding formula.)

June 2019
The Missouri Arts Council board approves the funding.

Panels Convening in 2019 for the FY2020 Grants

Arts Education – Out of School and Residency
Arts Council – Project
Electronic Media Arts
Festivals
Folk Arts
Literature
Missouri Touring Performers
Multidiscipline
Music – Instrumental
Music – Vocal/Presenters
Partnership